What’s This? A Bipartisan Plan For AI And National Security

from ars technica US Reps. Will Hurd and Robin Kelly are from opposite sides of the ever-widening aisle, but they share a concern that the United States may lose its grip on artificial intelligence, threatening the American economy and the balance of world power. On Thursday, Hurd (R-Tex.) and Kelly (D-Ill.) offered suggestions to prevent the US from falling behind China, especially, on applications of AI to defense and national security. They want to cut off China’s access to AI-specific silicon chips and push Congress and federal agencies to devote more resources to advancing and safely deploying AI technology. Although […]

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Some Shirts Hide You From Cameras—But Will Anyone Wear Them?

from ars technica Right now, you’re more than likely spending the vast majority of your time at home. Someday, however, we will all be able to leave the house once again and emerge, blinking, into society to work, travel, eat, play, and congregate in all of humanity’s many bustling crowds. The world, when we eventually enter it again, is waiting for us with millions of digital eyes—cameras, everywhere, owned by governments and private entities alike. Pretty much every state out there has some entity collecting license plate data from millions of cars—parked or on the road—every day. Meanwhile all kinds […]

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Justices To Consider Constitutionality Of CFPB Structure

from SCOTUSblog The congressional commission that investigated the 2008 financial crisis concluded that the United States’ consumer-protection system was “too fragmented to be effective.” In response to that finding, in 2010 Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The CFPB – whose website describes the bureau as a “U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly” – is led by one director appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate to serve a five-year term; once the director has been confirmed, the president can only remove […]

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Even When Weed Is Legal, Employees Face Risks

from Fast Company As more states legalize or move toward legalizing medicinal or recreational cannabis, many may assume that they’re free to partake in accordance with the law. But, for employees, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana could possibly lead to disciplinary action or termination by your employer—even if you get high on your own time. According to the National Cannabis Industry Association, 33 states have laws legalizing medical cannabis, and 11 of those also have legalized recreational use. But, even if it’s legal at the state level, federal law still prohibits cannabis use. That can lead to complicated compliance issues, […]

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FCC Accuses Carriers Of Being “Gateways” For Foreign Robocallers

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission is asking phone carriers for help blocking robocalls made from outside the US and is implementing a congressionally mandated system to trace the origin of illegal robocalls. The FCC yesterday sent letters to seven US-based voice providers “that accept foreign call traffic and terminate it to US consumers.” Tracebacks conducted by the USTelecom trade group and the FCC found that each of these companies’ services is “being used as a gateway into the United States for many apparently illegal robocalls that originate overseas,” the FCC’s letters to the companies say. The FCC letters […]

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Oh Sure, Big Tech Wants Regulation—on Its Own Terms

from NYTs Last week, a global gaggle of billionaires, academics, thought leaders, and other power brokers gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s signature annual event. Climate change! The global economy! Health! The agenda was packed with discussion of the most pressing issues of our time. True to form, much of the musing ventured away from root causes. Climate change—barring strong words from Greta Thunberg and other activists—was customarily discussed in the context of financial markets and the economy. Rising inequality was predictably repackaged as a threat to “already-fragile economic growth.” It was an echo of Davos 2019, […]

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The Battle For Silicon Valley’s Soul

from The New Republic Last year, as Big Tech drew comparisons to Big Tobacco, and the industry’s CEOs were hauled before Congress to explain why government propaganda and harassment had been allowed to continue unchecked on their platforms, Silicon Valley searched its conscience. At Google, employees urged the company to stop facilitating Chinese censorship and providing artificial intelligence for drone warfare. At Amazon and Salesforce, they tried to prevent ICE and Customs and Border Protection from usingtheir software. And across the field, workers called for safer workplaces, freedom from harassment, and better working conditions for the contractors, janitors, and food service employees who keep business […]

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Germany Has Ordered Facebook To Rein In Its Data Collection

From recode German regulators are trying to clamp down on Facebook’s data collection practices — a move that could force Facebook to make technical changes to its app in order to continue operating in the country. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office in charge of antitrust laws, restricted Facebook from “[merging] user data from various sources,” the office announced Thursday. Essentially, it wants to block Facebook from combining user data that it collects through its other apps, like WhatsApp and Instagram, with data on Facebook. This would also restrict Facebook from collecting and combining any “data collected on third-party websites,” such […]

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EU Warns Facebook It Faces Sanctions Over ‘Misleading’ T&Cs

from The Guardian Brussels has warned Facebook it will face sanctions unless it changes what the European commission calls its “misleading” terms and conditions. The EU commissioner in charge of consumer protection, Vera Jourová, said she had run out of patience with the social network after nearly two years of discussions aimed at giving Facebook’s European users more information about how their data is used. “I will not hide the fact that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years,” Jourová told reporters. “Progress is not enough for me, I want to […]

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Why Do Teachers Join The Union?

from Forbes The past year has brought a renewed focus on teachers unions. This was the year that saw a wave of state-wide teacher strikes, a wave that continues right now in Washington state. It was also the year that brought the Janus decision which threatens to extend the effects of Right-To-Work to states that have not yet seen that law come to their state capital. And conservative groups have been poised to launch a campaign of encouraging teachers and other public employees to quit their unions, even as unions have hunkered down to work at holding onto members. It […]

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Calif. Senate Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Sends Bill To Governor

from ars technica The California Senate today voted to approve the toughest state-level net neutrality bill in the US, one day after the California Assembly took the same action. With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law. The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote. More here.

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Like It Or Not, The Future Of Cryptocurrency Will Be Determined By Bureaucrats

from MIT Technology Review Denizens of the cryptocurrency world ought to get used to rubbing shoulders with regulators. The dark underbelly of the bonanza in initial coin offerings, rising concerns about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges, and a rush of “Main Street” investors to the scene have helped convince bureaucrats across the globe that cryptocurrency markets deserve a lot more attention. As a US Senate hearing illustrated this week, however, the question of how best to apply that attention is head-achingly complicated. Why you should care: The stakes are high, and not just because billions of real dollars are on the […]

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The Equifax Hack And How To Protect Your Family — All Explained In 5 Minutes

from freeCodeCamp In 1989, the US government decided to concentrate our most sensitive data in the hands of three giant finance corporations: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These three corporations now store our biographic information, every address we’ve ever lived at, and every major financial transaction we’ve ever made — all so they can assign us a FICO credit score. And one of these companies just got hacked. On September 8, Equifax announced what is now the worst data breach in history. And yes — you are most likely a victim of it. Here’s how this whole disaster unfolded. More here.

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The Walls Are Closing In On Tech Giants

from Axios Tech behemoths Google, Facebook and Amazon are feeling the heat from the far-left and the far-right, and even the center is starting to fold. Why it matters: Criticism over the companies’ size, culture and overall influence in society is getting louder as they infiltrate every part of our lives. Though it’s mostly rhetoric rather than action at the moment, that could change quickly in the current political environment. Here’s a breakdown of the three biggest fights they’re facing. More here.

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Government Paid for Poor Citizens’ Health Care Some 300 Years Before Obamacare

from The Atlantic There has always been government-subsidized health care in the United States. Until just after the Civil War, when state governments took more power, most Americans assumed that their local government would tax and spend to take care of the neediest. They frequently griped about the cost of these expenditures, as complaining about taxes is a long American tradition. But for about three centuries from the beginning of British North America, almost no one thought government-provided health care for the poor should go away. That has changed. Congressional Republicans have campaigned for years on the plank that government’s […]

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Your Smartphone Is A Civil Rights Issue

from TED The smartphone you use reflects more than just personal taste … it could determine how closely you can be tracked, too. Privacy expert and TED Fellow Christopher Soghoian details a glaring difference between the encryption used on Apple and Android devices and urges us to pay attention to a growing digital security divide. “If the only people who can protect themselves from the gaze of the government are the rich and powerful, that’s a problem,” he says. “It’s not just a cybersecurity problem — it’s a civil rights problem.” More here.

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The Driverless Truck Is Coming, And It’s Going To Automate Millions Of Jobs

from TechCrunch A convoy of self-driving trucks recently drove across Europe and arrived at the Port of Rotterdam. No technology will automate away more jobs — or drive more economic efficiency — than the driverless truck. Shipping a full truckload from L.A. to New York costs around $4,500 today, with labor representing 75 percent of that cost. But those labor savings aren’t the only gains to be had from the adoption of driverless trucks. Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. […]

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Beyond VW Scandal: Home Appliance Industry No Stranger to Tricks

from NYTs The emissions scandal at Volkswagen was the latest instance in the auto industry’s long history of skirting safety or environmental rules, with regulators now vowing to establish more stringent tests. Makers of consumer appliances and electronics have gone down a similar path, but tight federal standards and frequent testing have made it harder for manufacturers to skirt the rules. Still, consumer groups and advocates said regulators must remain vigilant because the pace of technological change and innovation often exceeds the speed at which federal standards can be established. Common household items are packed with more electronics than ever, […]

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The FCC Did NOT Make the Internet a Public Utility

from Medium Today the Federal Communications Commission voted 3–2 to approve of Title II-backed net neutrality regulations. It’s a big and important day for the Internet. As I write this, advocates all across D.C. are celebrating. And they should! Not so long ago, after the D.C. Circuit ruled against the FCC in Verizon v. FCC, many pronounced that net neutrality was dead. Seriously?—?the spirit around the effort and the Internet was pretty moribund. See how many hyperlinks that was? I wasn’t joking. The history of how “net neutrality came back from the dead” and the roles that the public, advocacy groups and companies (small and big) played in that revival will be important?—?and maybe will offer some […]

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Two Judges Who Get It About Banks

from NYTs Big banks hold great sway in Washington these days, far more than troubled homeowners do. But outside the Beltway, many people remain caught in the maw of the financial giants, which is why it is heartening when some judges step into the fray. Consider two opinions involving Wells Fargo, a bank that enjoys a somewhat better reputation than many of its peers. On Monday, a judge in a state court in Missouri ordered Wells to pay over $3 million in punitive damages and other costs for abusing a borrower. Then, on Thursday, a judge in Federal Bankruptcy Court in suburban New […]

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